Since even his days at Napoli, Maurizio Sarri has been longing for the services of 24-year-old Juventus defender Daniele Rugani.
Recent reports suggest Rugani could be part of an €85 million double swoop in January in a bid to bolster the Blues’ title challenge.
Sarri’s Italian heritage could persuade Rugani to leave for pastures new in London. He would join fellow countryman Jorginho following his arrival this summer. However, the possibility of first-team football may be a deciding factor as the clock begins to tick on Rugani reaching his full potential.
Where will the Juve man fit in at Chelsea? And how does he compare to Chelsea’s existing options at centre-back? Let’s take a look:
It’s been a slow start to the 2018/19 season so far for Rugani, having made just one appearance so far for Juventus in Serie A.
Although, in a team whose defence is compiled of the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, and Andrea Barzagli, most defenders would find it difficult to establish themselves among the starting lineup.
However, during the Old Lady’s 2-0 win over Frosinone, Rugani managed an impressive passing accuracy of 96%.
The 24-year-old also tallied one interception, one clearance, and successfully won 57% of his duels.
When compared to Chelsea’s existing options at centre-back during the 2017/18 season, the statistics do not favour Rugani.
Firstly, Rugani averaged just 0.49 tackles won per 90 metrics, while all of his Chelsea counterparts managed better. David Luiz tops the lot with 0.97, while regular starters Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger managed 0.57 and 0.79 respectively.
Next, in terms of interceptions per 90 metrics, Rugani again sits in last. He managed just 0.81, while David Luiz comes out on top again with a whopping 2.31.
Furthermore, the percentage of successful take-ons per 90 metrics may be a cause for concern for Chelsea. Rugani tallied a disappointing 0%, while Christensen leads the pack with 100%.
Finally, the percentage of successful duels among our candidates is a lot more tightly-contested. Rugani again sits bottom with 45.19, while David Luiz edges him out in third with 46.99%.
Meanwhile, the Blues’ Danish enforcer again comes out on top with 60% successful duels, while Antonio Rudiger trails in second with 48.02%.
To conclude, while the statistics certainly do not favour Rugani when compared to Chelsea’s options at centre-back, what’s important to note is the defender’s drastic lack of game time might be to blame.
Juve is a team that sets their defensive standards extremely high. Even players such as Medhi Benatia – who could easily walk into any top four Premier League side – have fallen to the whims of Max Allegri’s trusted Italian trio.
Sarri is clearly determined to bring the player to Stamford Bridge, given his persistent inquiries into his services throughout the years.
However, only first-team football will be enough to pry him away from Turin. Or, of course, the likes of Barcelona coming swooping in for another Premier League club’s desired target.
Rugani would be a decent signing for the Blues. But Maurizio Sarri already has an abundance of similarly-aged and skilled options at his disposal.